Biel: Vidit beats Leko for sole lead

by Tanmay Srinath
7/25/2019 – Vidit Gujrathi didn't play perfect chess, but his slow and steady build-up was too much for Peter Leko to take, and the Indian GM now takes over sole lead in the tournament. Nodirbek Abdusattorov handed Sam Shankland a defeat in the 4.d3 Anti-Berlin after the 2018 US Champion lost his objectivity and overextended his queenside. Parham Maghsoodloo's loss of form turned worrying, as an overestimation cost him a sure draw, with Jorge Cori being the lucky beneficiary. | Photos: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Marin's English Love Vol.1 and 2 - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4 Marin's English Love Vol.1 and 2 - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4

The aim of these Dvd's is to build a repertoire after 1.c4 and 2.g3 for White. The first DVD includes the systems 1...e5, the Dutch and Indian setups. The second DVD includes the systems with 1...c5, 1...c6 and 1...e6.

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Abdusattorov outsmarts Shankland

Vidit intense stareIt's been a roller coaster ride in Biel so far. Initially the higher rated players had all the fun, then the underdogs entered the party and finally players in improving form started to win games. Nodirbek Abdusattorov won his first classical game to pull back to an even score and among other decisive games the tail-enders made up lost ground to make it an exciting event. Abdusattorov finally settled his nerves and outplayed Sam Shankland from a 4.d3 Anti-Berlin to hand the American a painful loss. Jorge Cori found respite after an average start, beating the off-kilter Maghsoodloo in a wonderful counter-attacking game from the black side of a French Advance. The all Swiss duel between Georgiadis and Bogner ended in a tame draw.

At the top of the overall rankings, the leaders switched places (maybe not for the last time) today. Vidit Gujarathi (pictured) has turned on the afterburners after a bad start in the rapids, and today he didn't give any significant chances to Peter Leko en route to winning a crucial game and taking sole lead.

Time to take a trip to the deep end...

Vidit 1-0 Leko

If Vidit goes on to win the tournament, he will definitely point this game out as the turning point. Yesterday he escaped by the narrowest of margins against Shankland, and today he converted after an arduous struggle against the dogged Peter Leko. Having faced all the strongest players first and scoring 7.0/9, Vidit is in pole position with four rounds of Classical chess to go. Here are the critical moments of the encounter:

 

Vidit goes for the English with Marin's move order: 1.c4 followed by 2.g3 

 

Leko goes for a relatively rare plan involving an early queenside expansion, starting with 6...b8.

 

Press the green stop light to indicate the solution

Vidit played 8.b1 here, which looks natural and is a perfectly good decision. However, some calculation would have led him to greener pastures. Can you find an interesting alternative for White instead?

8.b4 was played by GM Matthieu Cornett in December 2017 and leads to interesting play.
 

White is slightly better despite the structure being nearly symmetrical, because he is just two moves from completing development, while Black's pieces are a little loose. Here Leko played the natural 11...f6 and was soon in trouble. Can you find a better move? Black to play.

11...♝g4 slows White down as 12.d4 would be well met by ...♝xf3
 

White to play and get a huge advantage

Again, your job is to play better than the Indian No.3. Remember the golden rule in chess — there are no rules, only guidelines!

 

Despite Vidit's inaccuracy, he soon found himself in this formidable position. The key thing to note is the difference between the knight on c5 and f6. That is the key nuance that guarantees White a large positional advantage.

 

After a few more moves we reach this position where surprisingly Black is in a mild middlegame zugzwang! His pieces can't get to better squares, and the weakness of the b5 and d5 pawns is significant. It would not be wrong to say that White is close to winning.

The two most solid players produced one of the most exciting games in the tournament so far! | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

 

After some twists and turns, Vidit was two pawns up. The rest was about mopping up correctly.

 

Time to finish well! White to play and win.

 

It went downhill for Leko after a few inaccurate opening moves | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Abdusattorov 1-0 Shankland

While technically not an earth shattering result, it is definitely surprising, considering how well Sam has been playing since crossing 2700. Due credit must be given to the young phenom, who played a nearly faultless game to get the better of the top seed. Here are a few highlights:

Is this an announcement to the world by the Uzbek prodigy? | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

 

White has a small advantage due to his better development, but nothing that can't be neutralized. Here Sam had to go for 18...♝e6! completing his development. Instead, 18...b5? was perhaps a loss of objectivity. After 19.axb5 cxb5 20.a5! White had a serious advantage.

 

White is better due to the following factors: The d5 pawn is passed, protected and prevented Black from occupying d6, the knight on a5 is an ideal blockader of the queenside pawn roller and Black's queenside pieces are still on their initial squares without much scope.

 

Black grabbed a pawn, but that is his only achievement in the game so far. White's pieces are super active, and it was time to open the queenside with 30.b3! creating decisive threats. But 30.a3!? — played in the game — is weaker, but has its logic too. Abdusattorov wanted to advance his centre.

 

Black's best chance was 36...♜xc7! 37.bxc7 ♞d5. Though White remains better, Black has fighting chances due to his queenside majority. Instead, 36...fxe5?! was simply bad, allowing White to finish the game off ruthlessly.

 

What shall I do? | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Maghsoodloo 0-1 Cori

Parham Maghsoodloo is suddenly struggling to find his form. After playing a good rapid tournament, he has suddenly lost two classical games in a row. It was a respite for his opponent Jorge Cori, who was fighting well but not getting a breakthrough. Well, it came in this game, which was full of interesting moments:

The World Junior Champion couldn't bring out his best today. | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

 

It was time to take the draw after 24.♕f3 ♞h4 25.♕g4 ♞f5. Instead, 24.xf5? was too optimistic, and allowed Black to take over the game.

 

While Parham's initial idea of the queen sacrifice was an inaccuracy, the move 26.xg4? was a mistake, as it allowed Black to win the b2 pawn by force. Instead, 26.♗xg4 retains a complex position with fighting chances for White.

 

One can understand from the diagram that Black is completely winning, as the queenside pawns fall off and the d-pawn is too strong.

 

The final position shows how ruinous White's position actually is. A wonderful counter-punching effort by Jorge Cori!

 

Georgiadis ½-½ Bogner

The relative no-show of the round. With White, Nico didn't get much out of a Catalan, and Bogner simplified into a drawn bishop ending. There was an intriguing moment where White could have complicated play:

 

White's best chance to fight for an advantage was with f4!? trying to expand on the kingside and not volunteering to an exchange of rooks. Instead, after Qc5!? the game ended peacefully soon enough.

The all Swiss duel was as friendly as it sounds | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Overall standings

Rank Name Games Classic Rapid Blitz Total
1 GM Santosh Vidit 10 7 8 0 15
2 GM Peter Leko 10 4 10 0 14
3 GM Sam Shankland 10 4 9 0 13
4 GM Jorge Cori 10 4 7 0 11
  GM Parham Maghsoodloo 10 3 8 0 11
6 GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov 10 4 5 0 9
7 GM Nico Georgiadis 10 2 6 0 8
8 GM Sebastian Bogner 10 4 3 0 7

Vidit takes over the lead with four rounds of classical chess and the blitz section still to come. Can he maintain his momentum?

All classical games

 

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Tanmay is an 18-year-old chess player from Bangalore, Karnataka, currently pursuing both chess and engineering at BMSCE Bangalore. Tanmay is also a Taekwondo Black Belt, who has represented the country in an International Tournament in Thailand. He is a big fan of Mikhail Tal and Vishy Anand, and sincerely believes in doing his bit to Power Chess in India!
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